Each year, Sugar Research Australia (SRA) calls for Preliminary Research Proposals (PRPs) that address sugar industry research priority areas. The most recent call asked for projects that addressed areas identified within the SRA Strategic Plan 2013/14-2017/18 (2015 Update).

The Strategic Plan identifies eight Key Focus Areas (KFAs) for research, development and extension (RD&E) investment as follows:

  • Key Focus Area 1: Optimally-adapted varieties, plant breeding and release
  • Key Focus Area 2: Soil health and nutrient management
  • Key Focus Area 3: Pest, disease and weed management
  • Key Focus Area 4: Farming systems and production management
  • Key Focus Area 5: Milling efficiency and technology
  • Key Focus Area 6: Product diversification and value addition
  • Key Focus Area 7: Knowledge and technology transfer and adoption
  • Key Focus Area 8: Capability development, attraction and retention

In addition, the SRA Board has identified issues that fall within these focus areas that require an increased intensity of activity and investment in the short to medium-term. These prioritised Impact Areas have been defined as:

  1. Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS);
  2. Plant Breeding (both conventional and genetically-modified (GM));
  3. Adoption; and
  4. Maximising Productivity along the Value Chain.

SRA is moving towards a program structure for the delivery of components of its investment portfolio. This may result in individual research proposals being combined, merged or integrated into larger, structured programs of work. The SRA Board is particularly interested in developing a program structure to deliver soil health outcomes.

SRA has conducted an analysis of its research portfolio and has identified opportunities for prioritised research in order to maximise the likelihood of being shortlisted, each PRP should clearly outline an alignment to relevant research priorities. The application must specify the industry need for the proposed research, reference previous and current research relevant to this specific industry need, provide a clear description of strong outputs and outcomes and describe plans for their subsequent adoption. Successful projects are expected to demonstrate a significant industry return on the project investment and contribute to triple bottom line benefits.